College World Series 2019: Bracket Picks, Start Times for Tuesday's ScheduleJune 17, 2019
Mississippi State rallied for four runs in the ninth inning and the Bulldogs came up with a 5-4 victory over Auburn in their College World Series game Sunday, and they will try to build off that performance when they meet Vanderbilt Tuesday.
The Commodores got the best of Louisville 3-1 in their opening CWS game, and the winner of the Vanderbilt-Mississippi State game will have an opportunity to play in the semifinal round of the tournament.
Tuesday, June 18
Game 7: Louisville vs. Auburn, 2 p.m., ESPN
Game 8: Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State, 7 p.m., ESPN/ESPN2
The Bulldogs took advantage of a throwing error by third baseman Edouard Julien to tie the score, and Marshall Gilbert drove in the winning run with a single up the middle as Mississippi State rallied with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to earn the victory.
Mississippi State had threatened throughout the game but couldn't come up with key hits until their winning rally.
Vanderbilt rode the home-run bat of Austin Martin to key their victory over the Cardinals. Martin hit his first home run on the first pitch he saw leading off the bottom of the first inning, and then broke a 1-1 tie with his second blast of the game in the seventh inning.
Martin is hitting .411 for the season, and while he is involved in most Vanderbilt rallies, the long balls are usually the responsibility of outfielder JJ Bleday, who has hit 26 home runs this season.
Vanderbilt vs. Mississippi State
The Commodores (55-11) are the top seed in the tournament, and Martin's heroics have allowed them to get off to a sharp start in the tournament. The Bulldogs (52-13) showed off their grittiness with their rally in the ninth, and that's something they have done on a regular basis this season.
Mississippi State has rallied from behind to win 28 times, and five of those wins have come in NCAA tournament games.
The Bulldogs are led by catcher Dustin Skelton and second baseman Justin Foscue. Skelton has belted 10 home runs this season with 55 runs batted in, while Foscue has 14 homers and 60 RBI.
Vanderbilt is a dominant team that can win slugfests, pitching duels and any type of game in between. Martin is usually the triggerman for the offense, but he has added power to his game recently and he has 10 long balls for the season. Bleday has to be contained if the Bulldogs are going to have a shot in this game. He has an intimidating slash line of .352/.467/.715.
Vanderbilt also gets plenty of production from outfielder Stephen Scott, who has hit 12 home runs and driven in 55 runs.
These two teams met in the SEC tournament, and Vanderbilt emerged with a 1-0 victory in that game as Drake Fellows got the best of Ethan Small.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 2, Mississippi State 1—Both teams understand what it takes to win tight games and this game could be a matchup of the two best teams in the CWS. Bleday has the power to take over any game, and he should play a key role in this game as the Commodores get this victory.
Louisville vs. Auburn
The Cardinals (49-17) have to feel good about themselves after pushing Vanderbilt so hard and keeping that team's offense in check for the majority of the game.
The Tigers (38-27) are anxious to get back on the field after failing to hold onto a three-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning.
While the winner of this game remains alive in the CWS, the loser will be sent home from Omaha.
Louisville is keyed by third baseman Alex Binelas, who has hit 10 home runs and driven in 57 runs. He gets support from shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald, who has hit seven home runs and driven in 64 runs. Left-handed pitcher Nick Bennett has a 7-3 record and a 4.40 earned-run average.
Auburn has struggled against the best opponents it has faced, and the loss to Mississippi State dropped the Tigers' season-long record against CWS opponents to 2-9. Julien will be anxious to make up for his key error, and he has hit nine home runs and driven in 54 runs. Steven Williams has also hit hit nine home runs for the Tigers.
Prediction: Louisville 4, Auburn 1—The Cardinals should be encouraged by their performance against powerful Vanderbilt, while Auburn knows it let an opportunity slip away. The Cardinals send the Tigers home for the offseason.